The brief tenure that former Florida State offensive coordinator Randy Sanders has had, as the new head coach at East Tennessee State, is already in jeopardy.
Sanders was suspended indefinitely by the school Monday morning after a report surfaced that he struck a player in the helmet at Friday’ s practice .
Football – Sources say Sanders struck ETSU football player https://t.co/nHmUuMLFJL Johnson City Press
— ETSU Fans (@ETSUFans) April 2, 2018
Here’s the brief recap from the paper of what transpired as Sanders’ team was participating in a Spring practice and the incident occurred:
“The player in question, according to two people close to the program, is Tyree Robison, a freshman defensive back from Gainesville, Georgia. Sanders allegedly hit Robinson in the helmet during Friday’s practice when the player failed to take a knee during a drill.
Sanders was allowed to coach the team’s second scrimmage on Saturday and seemed generally upbeat about the performance.”
Once reports surfaced, an investigation began, and the school released a statement mid-Monday morning saying, “The head coach of the ETSU football team has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation of potential violation of university policy.”
Per the schools posted policies, Sanders is not entitled to an appeal hearing, because it’s paid leave. It’s not clear if ETSU is using an outside investigator to talk to those involved, including witnesses.
Sanders was previously the quarterback coach and offensive coordinator for Jimbo Fisher the last five years in Tallahassee. He is credited in part, with Fisher, for the mentoring and development of Jameis Winston into a Heisman Winning National Champion quarterback in 2013.
Winston was later drafted #1 overall by the Buccaneers in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Sanders, a Morristown, TN, native and former Tennessee Vols assistant, took the FCS job in December with a base salary of $225,000 per year. He did stay on to coach Florida State’s bowl win over Southern Miss in the Independence Bowl.
There have been recent dismissals in college basketball or football involving striking a player. Former Kentucky basketball star Sean Woods, who after investigation was determined to have struck two different players while coaching at Morehead State in 2015, resigned in December of 2016.
More relevant in Florida, former USF Bulls head football coach Jim Leavitt was fired after striking a player in the locker room during a 2009 game. Leavitt later sued USF and the school gave him $2.75 million in a settlement in 2011 over the firing.
As for Sanders, there is no timetable on his possible return. ETSU does have their Spring scrimmage on Thursday night.
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